Grand-Am Road Racing Media Conference
Topics: Grand-Am Road Racing
May 24, 2011
J.J. O'MALLEY: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this week's edition of the Grand-Am teleconference as we get ready for the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park, which will be next Monday in Lime Rock, Connecticut. Today we visit with the defending winners of the event, max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor, drivers of the No. 10 Suntrust Chevrolet Dallara.
Max, thanks for joining us from Europe. I know you've got a long trip tomorrow to get over to the States, but we look forward to seeing you. Last year you scored your only victory of the season at Lime Rock, and since then the team has switched to Chevrolet power. Can you talk about your thoughts defending your victory at Lime Rock?
MAX ANGELELLI: Sure, thank you for having me here. Yeah, last year was very good race for us. Everything went as planned, and obviously this year we want to go back and try to double it and win again.
Lime Rock is a very particular short track and car setup and race strategy is going to play a big role. But we'll try. We have a good car now with Chevy power. We basically are in the right spot to win again there and win some other races.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Ricky, last year you scored your first Rolex series victory at Lime Rock. At our last event at Virginia International Raceway a few weeks ago, we saw your younger brother Jordan get his first victory. After driving together early in your careers, you've gone different directions in DP and GT. Is there an inter-family rivalry, and what are your thoughts as you and Max stand fourth in the championship standings?
RICKY TAYLOR: Yeah, well, it was great for Jordan to get his first win. I think we all knew it was coming at some point. He's been super fast this year.
As far as a rivalry goes, it's, I guess, good that we're in separate classes so we don't have to compete against each other. But definitely want each other to do well every weekend.
Yeah, this season so far I think has been going very well. While I think last year the car suited a couple of tracks, I think this year we're able to compete at the front on every track we go to and just the whole team has been doing a really good job. Just a couple little mistakes here and there has kept us, I guess, from a win.
Q. Question for both Max and Ricky. Looking ahead with your performance at the upcoming Lime Rock and at the Glen where you have two strong races, how do you see your efforts going, and what do you see it will take to derail the Ganassi group?
MAX ANGELELLI: I'll start. Those two tracks, especially Watkins Glen, really suits our car. We've been able to race very strong there. Lime Rock was the first year last year, and we were kind of happily surprised how well the car did there. We believe we have the winner car that we had in the past races, we still have it and we will have it for the rest of the season. Unfortunately just a minor unlucky events kept us away from a win, but everyone knows in the paddock that as soon as we put everything together, the car is there, the drivers are there and the team is there where everybody is in the same place at the same time we will win, and we will win again and again and again.
RICKY TAYLOR: I agree with Max. Just a couple unlucky events really this year as far as stopping Ganassi goes. We've had a lot of speed. I think just some little things have kept us a little bit short. But I think definitely the speed is there, and Lime Rock is definitely going to suit our car. Really looking forward to it.
Q. I was just wondering from either driver, when you see the giant get slain, like what you saw last round, is there a collective sigh of relief that goes through the garage, or how does that change the mindset going into a new weekend?
RICKY TAYLOR: Yeah, I think there is a sigh of relief. I think sometimes it's hard to stop the momentum, and I think now that the ice is broken, I think a lot of new teams can start winning, and I think we'll be right there hopefully to take advantage of this opportunity.
MAX ANGELELLI: I just try to look at us only and do the best all the time, and that's all I will do, just looking at us, only us.
Q. Have you been able to get a good look at what the new fuel regulations will do to strategy? Did you guys get any indication how that will affect your races this weekend, and also how you think the new tires are going to work on these new higher speed courses coming up?
MAX ANGELELLI: First off, the fuel regulations did not affect very much our strategy. That was more of a help to all the sort of -- gentlemen drivers combined with a pro driver, if you want to call like that, teams like Michael Shank or Kevin Doran, other teams like that, they have pro drivers, gentlemen, this is trying to help them so they may gain on the new rules.
As far as for us, we're not changing strategy. Our strategy will be still the same. The amount of stops will be the same, and we will keep doing what we did in the past four races.
Q. With the higher speed tracks coming up, how do you think the new tires are going to hold out?
RICKY TAYLOR: I think it'll be similar to most of the other tracks. I think temperature has played a big part in the tires this year. At Daytona the tires were very good, and in the hotter races we struggled a little bit more. So I think that'll be the biggest variable. I'm not sure how Watkins Glen is on tires. I know that there's not a lot of wheel spin there, not a lot of low speed, first gear corners, so as far as that goes, it could be a little bit better.
Q. And my last question is with the short turnaround between Lime Rock and Watkins Glen, how challenging is that for you guys and how challenging is that for your crew?
MAX ANGELELLI: It is very challenging if you crash the car, but we have a good team. We have a lot of spares, unfortunately, but we will be able to turn the car upside down if a bad weekend is going to be in our case. Our team is very capable. You can basically virtually be in a brand new car within three days with the amount of spares that we have and the people that we have. It is challenging, but it depends on the weekend you have.
Q. Max and Ricky, we're going from the shortest road course on our schedule to two of the longest in Watkins Glen and Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Is the short Lime Rock track more demanding for you as a driver, or how do you approach Lime Rock?
RICKY TAYLOR: I think Lime Rock is definitely one of the more challenging tracks. I think it's just over a mile long, and to fit however many cars we have at that weekend on that small of a track is going to be a challenge getting through traffic and just having a clean race and not making any mistakes mentally and physically, as well, because you don't get a chance to rest. So I think once we get onto the longer tracks, everything is going to feel a bit like slow motion.
MAX ANGELELLI: Yes, it is tough. It depends on if it's going to be hot. Last year it was very hot. It depends. But you know, also Watkins Glen or Road America, they're also tough tracks. On depends on where you are on the track; if you leave the race or if you have to fight your way back to the lead, and there's a big difference. If you're leading the race it's a lot more relaxing. But if you have to fight your way back, then also a racetrack like Watkins Glen can be very short and very physical.
Q. We go from Lime Rock where the checkered flag will wave just before 5:00 on Monday and then Thursday early afternoon I know usually you're with the team when they unload in the paddock. What do you do in the two days between Lime Rock and Watkins Glen?
MAX ANGELELLI: We will have a trip. We'll go to New York City both together with the family, Wayne, myself, Ricky, Jordan and Shelly, and I'm sure we'll have a fun time. But the point is if you win the race, you only have two days to celebrate, or let's say to feel great. That is the bad side. The good side, if you have a bad weekend then you only have two days to suffer because then you're going to have another race where you may have a better result, and then you can enjoy again.
Q. Ricky, what are your plans?
RICKY TAYLOR: I'm just following along, going to New York, and we're just going to have a little vacation there in between the two races.
Q. Just a couple more questions. First of all, you guys switched over to the Chevy family in the off-season. How is that going?
MAX ANGELELLI: It's going very well. That was very good -- it was necessary in some respects, and everybody at GM, Chevy and Childress, ECR, which is our engine builder, did an excellent job. Definitely big steps forward. So we're really enjoying our new model, new unit, and it's performing well. There's still a lot to do, a lot that can be done, but we are very happy. It's a good engine, good top end power, good torque going out of the corner, long gears low revs. We have everything we need to win.
Q. My last question is for Ricky. Obviously your dad is such a seasoned sports car veteran but he also had a great crew driver. How important has it been to have those two guys with you?
RICKY TAYLOR: It's been huge. There's no way in my mind that I would be where I am today without them. And I don't think a lot of people realize how much Max and my dad do behind the scenes with me and helping me getting up to speed and everything. It's really been amazing. Every weekend Max and I are looking over data and having questions about different aspects of racing inside and outside the car, just endless things that I didn't even know that I would need to know because of Max's experience and so many years doing it. I'm really thankful.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Thank you, Max and Ricky, for joining us today, and best of luck in Monday's Memorial Day Classic and in the remainder of the Rolex Series season.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|